As a forum owner, one of the biggest responsibilities to shoulder is keeping the forum free of spam. It can be quite a task dealing with human spammers and spam bots on a daily basis. Spammers try to come up new tactics to continue spamming without getting caught which is why forum owners can never be at peace. They always need to be on the lookout for unwanted spam accumulating their forum which can bring down their forum in the search rankings and also cause dissatisfaction among community users.
Here are few effective tips that will help keep your forum spam-free.
# Use the ‘nofollow’ attribute
A lot of human spammers target forums to get backlinks pointing to their websites. To stay protected, forum owners must use the ‘nofollow attribute for links in the comment field.
# Anti-spam plugins
One of the good ways to deal with spam is use anti-spam plugins like Akismet. They are quite easy to install and are extremely effective is detecting spam and blocking it.
# Don’t allow editing of posts
A tactic that spammers often use is post a lot of harmless posts/replies which they come back later and edit into a spammy post. So, all you have to do is to not allow editing after posting.
# Monitor suspicious activity
When a new user writes a high amount of posts, it is highly likely that they are spamming. Keep an eye out for new user’s activity and even limit the posts they can do in the initial days.
# Enable CAPTCHA
The best way to counter spam bots is with CAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA is quite popular among forum owners. Also ensure email verification before a user can access their accounts.
# Ban users if and when required
If there are users who may end up spamming unintentionally, you can give them warnings before banning them. But, if you see new users spamming, it is better to ban them immediately.
# Ask help from the Community
A vigilant community plays a big role in ensuring that the forum is free of spam. Encourage community members to report any suspicious activity or spam immediately.
# Strict Community guidelines
Make it extremely clear in the policies on the forum that what all will be considered as spam in clear terms and how any violation will not be tolerated.
# Close old and inactive threads
Old threads that have been inactive for a while often become targets for spammers to dump their links/information. So ensure the moderators do a good job of closing inactive threads.
# Blacklisting Spammy terms
After a few years of experience, you will have a good idea of the terms that spammers are using. Forum owners can create a blacklist for all these terms and control spam better.